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Abstract

OBJECTIVE To validate the effectiveness of a penetrating captive bolt device with a built-in low-pressure air channel pithing mechanism (PCBD) as a 1-step method for euthanasia of cattle.

DESIGN Clinical trial.

ANIMALS 66 feedlot steers and heifers (weight, 227 to 500 kg [500 to 1,100 lb]) that were not expected to survive or finish the feeding period with their cohorts.

PROCEDURES Cattle were transported to a university facility and euthanized with the PCBD. For each calf, clinical variables were monitored and recorded immediately before and for at least 10 minutes after application of the PCBD. Following euthanasia, the head of each calf was removed and trauma to the brain and skull was assessed and scored.

RESULTS Death was successfully achieved with the PCBD without application of an ancillary technique in all 66 cattle; however, 4 (6%) cattle required a second or third shot from the PCBD because of technical errors in its placement. All shots from the PCBD that entered the cranial vault successfully rendered cattle unconscious without a return to sensibility.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that the PCBD was an effective 1-step method of euthanasia for use in mass depopulation of feedlot cattle.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Background—The study of occupational stress and compassion fatigue in personnel working in animal-related occupations has gained momentum over the last decade. However, there remains incongruence in understanding what is currently termed compassion fatigue and the associated unique contributory factors. Furthermore, there is minimal established evidence of the likely influence of these conditions on the health and well-being of individuals working in various animal-related occupations.

Objective—To assess currently available evidence and terminology regarding occupational stress and compassion fatigue in personnel working in animal shelters, veterinary clinics, and biomedical research facilities.

Data Sources—Studies were identified by searching the following electronic databases with no publication date restrictions: ProQuest Research Library, ProQuest Social Science Journals, PsycARTICLES, Web of Science, Science Direct, Scopus, PsychINFO databases, and Google Scholar. Search terms included (euthanasia AND animals) OR (compassion fatigue AND animals) OR (occupational stress AND animals).

Study Appraisal and Synthesis—Only articles published in English in peer-reviewed journals that included use of quantitative or qualitative techniques to investigate the incidence of occupational stress or compassion fatigue in the veterinary profession or animal-related occupations were included. On the basis of predefined criteria, 1 author extracted articles, and the data set was then independently reviewed by the other 2 authors.

Results—12 articles met the selection criteria and included a variety of study designs and methods of data analysis. Seven studies evaluated animal shelter personnel, with the remainder evaluating veterinary nurses and technicians (2), biomedical research technicians (1), and personnel in multiple animal-related occupations (2). There was a lack of consistent terminology and agreed definitions for the articles reviewed. Personnel directly engaged in euthanasia reported significantly higher levels of work stress and lower levels of job satisfaction, which may have resulted in higher employee turnover, psychological distress, and other stress-related conditions.

Limitations and Conclusions—Results of this review suggested a high incidence of occupational stress and euthanasia-related strain in animal care personnel. The disparity of nomenclature and heterogeneity of research methods may contribute to general misunderstanding and confusion and impede the ability to generate high-quality evidence regarding the unique stressors experienced by personnel working with animals. The present systematic review provided insufficient foundation from which to identify consistent causal factors and outcomes to use as a basis for development of evidence-based stress management programs, and it highlights the need for further research.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine opinions of faculty members with clinical appointments, clinical veterinarians, residents, and interns at a US veterinary teaching hospital regarding antimicrobial use and antimicrobial-resistant infections.

Design—Cross-sectional survey.

Sample—71 veterinarians.

Procedures—An online questionnaire was sent to all veterinarians with clinical service responsibilities at the North Carolina State University veterinary teaching hospital (n = 167). The survey included 23 questions regarding demographic information, educational experiences, current prescribing practices, and personal opinions related to antimicrobial selection, antimicrobial use, restrictions on antimicrobial use, and antimicrobial resistance.

Results—Of the 167 veterinarians eligible to participate, 71 (43%) responded. When respondents were asked to rate their level of concern (very concerned = 1; not concerned = 5) about antimicrobial-resistant infections, most (41/70 [59%]) assigned a score of 1, with mean score for all respondents being 1.5. Most survey participants rated their immediate colleagues (mean score, 1.9) as more concerned than other veterinary medical professionals (mean score, 2.3) and their clients (mean score, 3.4). Fifty-nine of 67 (88%) respondents felt that antimicrobials were overprescribed at the hospital, and 32 of 69 (46%) respondents felt uncomfortable prescribing at least one class of antimicrobials (eg, carbapenems or glycopeptides) because of public health concerns.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Findings indicated that veterinarians at this teaching hospital were concerned about antimicrobial resistance, thought antimicrobials were overprescribed, and supported restricting use of certain antimicrobial classes in companion animals. Findings may be useful in educating future veterinarians and altering prescribing habits and antimicrobial distribution systems in veterinary hospitals.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the prevalence of suicide risk factors, attitudes toward mental illness, and practice-related stressors among US veterinarians.

Design—Cross-sectional survey.

Sample—11,627 US veterinarians.

Procedures—Between July 1 and October 20, 2014, a Web-based questionnaire was made available through the Veterinary Information Network (VIN), VIN News Service, JAVMA News, and email messages to US veterinarians sent by a veterinary medical association, agriculture or livestock department, or health department of each state (except Maine) and Puerto Rico.

Results—Of 11,627 respondents, 3,628 (31%) were male. Modal age category was 30 to 39 years, and modal range for years practicing veterinary medicine was 10 to 19 years. There were 7,460 (64%) respondents who primarily practiced small animal medicine, and 4,224 (36%) who were practice owners. There were 1,077 (9%) respondents with current serious psychological distress. Since leaving veterinary school, 3,655 (31%) respondents experienced depressive episodes, 1,952 (17%) experienced suicidal ideation, and 157 (1%) attempted suicide. Currently, 2,228 (19%) respondents were receiving treatment for a mental health condition. Only 3,250 of 10,220 (32%) respondents somewhat or strongly agreed that people are sympathetic toward persons with mental illness. The most commonly reported practice-related stressor was demands of practice.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In this survey, approximately 1 in 11 veterinarians had serious psychological distress and 1 in 6 experienced suicidal ideation since leaving veterinary school. Implementing measures to help veterinarians cope with practice-related stressors and reducing barriers veterinarians face in seeking mental health treatment might reduce the risk for suicide among veterinarians.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To assess student awareness of the financial costs of pursuing a veterinary education, to determine student expectations for financial returns of a veterinary career, and to identify associations between student debt and factors such as future career plans or personality type.

Design—Survey.

Sample—First-year veterinary students at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine.

Procedures—In 2013, prior to the first day of class, all incoming first-year students received an email invitation to complete an online survey. The survey contained questions about demographics, current financial situation, current debt, expected debt at graduation, expected annual income following graduation, intent to pursue specialty training, and Myers-Briggs personality type.

Results—72 of 102 (71%) students completed the survey; 65 respondents answered all relevant questions and provided usable data. Student responses for expected debt at graduation were comparable to national averages for veterinary college graduates; responses for expected annual income following graduation were lower than averages for University of Minnesota veterinary college graduates and national averages. However, students predicted even lower annual income if they did not attend veterinary college. Expected debt and expected annual income were not correlated with factors such as personality type or future career plans.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that first-year veterinary students were aware of the financial costs of their veterinary education and had realistic expectations for future salaries. For typical veterinary students, attending veterinary college appeared to be financially worthwhile, given lower expected earnings otherwise. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2015;247:196–203)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Ensuring appropriate animal welfare is a high priority for the beef industry, and poorly defined abnormalities in the mobility of cattle at abattoirs have gained considerable attention recently. During the summer of 2013, abattoirs throughout the United States reported concerns about nonambulatory or slow and difficult to move cattle and cattle that sloughed hoof walls. This report describes various cattle that developed these mobility problems soon after arrival at an abattoir. Affected cattle had various clinical signs including tachypnea with an abdominal component to breathing, lameness, and reluctance to move. Some cattle sloughed 1 or more hoof walls while in lairage pens and were euthanized. Other cattle recovered after being rested overnight. Affected cattle had serum lactate concentration and creatine kinase activity increased from reference ranges. Histologic findings included diffuse necrosis of the epidermal laminae with degenerate collagen and perivascular infiltration of neutrophils in the underlying deep dermis, and were similar for digits that had and had not sloughed the hoof wall. With the exception of the sloughed hoof walls, the clinical signs and serum biochemical abnormalities observed in affected cattle were similar to those observed in pigs with fatigued pig syndrome, and we propose that fatigued cattle syndrome be used to describe such cattle. Although anecdotal evidence generated concern that cattle fed the β-adrenergic receptor agonist zilpaterol hydrochloride were at greater risk of developing mobility problems, compared with cattle not fed zilpaterol, this condition is likely multifactorial. Strategies to prevent this condition are needed to protect the welfare of cattle.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine percentages of domestic cats and dogs vaccinated against rabies, identify barriers to vaccination, and assess knowledge about rabies in a semirural New Mexico community after a skunk rabies outbreak.

Design—Cross-sectional, door-to-door, bilingual, community-based participatory survey.

Sample—366 residential properties in Eddy County, NM.

Procedures—The New Mexico Department of Health and CDC administered surveys and analyzed data.

Results—Individuals at 247 of the 366 residential properties participated in the survey. One hundred eighty of the 247 (73%) households owned a dog (n = 292) or cat (163). Cats were more likely than dogs to not have an up-to-date rabies vaccination status (prevalence ratio, 3.2; 95% confidence interval, 2.3 to 4.4). Cost and time or scheduling were the most frequently identified barriers to vaccination. One hundred sixty (65%) respondents did not know livestock can transmit rabies, 78 (32%) did not know rabies is fatal, and 89 (36%) did not know a bat scratching a person can be an exposure. Only 187 (76%) respondents indicated they would contact animal control if they saw a sick skunk, and only 166 (67%) indicated they would contact animal control if bitten by a dog they did not own.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Findings indicated that rabies vaccination prevalence among pet dogs and cats was low, despite the fact that the region had experienced a skunk rabies outbreak during the previous 2 years. In addition, substantial percentages of respondents did not have correct knowledge of rabies or rabies exposure.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine the most common types of noncombat-related injuries or illnesses in military working dogs in a combat zone.

Design—Retrospective descriptive study.

Sample—1,350 patient encounters with military working dogs evaluated for noncombat-related reasons.

Procedures—Data regarding noncombat-related veterinary visits were collected on a weekly basis from 13 forward operating bases throughout Iraq from January 2009 through August 2010. Reporting facility location, patient identification, reason for evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment were recorded, and descriptive data were summarized.

Results—The most common noncombat-related disease processes or injuries identified were related to the dermatologic system (ie, primary [inflammatory] dermatologic disease; 338/1,350 [25.0%]), soft tissue trauma (284 [21.0%]), alimentary system (231 [17.1%]), or musculoskeletal system (193 [14.3%]).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Veterinary Corps officers need to be proficient not only in the management of combat-related injuries but also in the treatment of routine illnesses and injuries. Knowledge of noncombat-related diseases and injuries commonly incurred by military working dogs can be used for targeted training for individuals responsible for medical care of these animals as well as for equipment selection and protocol development.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine the perceived importance of specific competencies in professional veterinary practice and education among veterinarians in several countries.

Design—Survey-based prospective study.

Sample—1,137 veterinarians in 10 countries.

Procedures—Veterinarians were invited via email to participate in the study. A framework of 18 competencies grouped into 7 domains (veterinary expertise, communication, collaboration, entrepreneurship, health and welfare, scholarship, and personal development) was used. Respondents rated the importance of each competency for veterinary professional practice and for veterinary education by use of a 9-point Likert scale in an online questionnaire. Quantitative statistical analyses were performed to assess the data.

Results—All described competencies were perceived as having importance (with overall mean ratings [all countries] ≥ 6.45/9) for professional practice and education. Competencies related to veterinary expertise had the highest ratings (overall mean, 8.33/9 for both professional practice and education). For the veterinary expertise, entrepreneurship, and scholarship domains, substantial differences (determined on the basis of statistical significance and effect size) were found in importance ratings among veterinarians in different countries.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated a general consensus regarding the importance of specific types of competencies in veterinary professional practice and education. Further research into the definition of competencies essential for veterinary professionals is needed to help inform an international dialogue on the subject.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To define the learning curve and evaluate the outcome for a board-certified veterinary surgeon performing laparoendoscopic single-site (LESS) ovariectomy in dogs.

Design—Retrospective case review and learning curve evaluation with a skill acquisition model.

Animals—27 client-owned dogs.

Procedures—Between April 2011 and December 2012, 27 dogs underwent elective LESS ovariectomy performed by a single experienced board-certified laparoscopic surgeon by means of the same technique. Medical records for these patients were reviewed to determine whether a learning curve could be detected. A commercially available multitrocar port was inserted through a 15- to 20-mm incision at the umbilicus, and LESS ovariectomy was performed with articulating graspers, a bipolar vessel-sealing device, and a 30° telescope. Surgical performance of the surgeon was quantified with an exponential skill acquisition model, and how skill was gained with repetition of the same novel surgical procedure was examined.

Results—Median patient body weight was 20 kg (44 lb; range, 3.5 to 41 kg [7.7 to 90.2 lb]). Median surgical time was 35 minutes (range, 20 to 80 minutes). Median patient age was 314 days (range, 176 to 2,913 days). The skill acquisition model revealed that a comparable surgeon could reach 90% of optimal surgery performance after approximately 8 procedures (8.6, 95% confidence interval, 0.5 to 16.6 procedures). According to the model, with each surgery, surgical time would be expected to decrease by 27% (95% confidence interval, 2% to 52%). Complications were limited to minor hemorrhage due to a splenic laceration and a postoperative incisional infection. Follow-up information was available for all 27 cases. All owners were satisfied and indicated that they would pursue LESS ovariectomy again.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The learning curve for LESS ovariectomy was short and definable. Short-term outcome was excellent. Results of this study suggested that an experienced laparoscopic surgeon may anticipate achieving proficiency with this technique after performing approximately 8 procedures.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association